On January 17, 2011 Morgan Petra Ashe died from Leukemia at the age of 23. Right before I left to Peru her parents asked me to take some of her ashes to scatter in a beautiful place. Machupicchu seemed like that perfect place…
My new roommate, Ashley, and I woke up early on Saturday morning to go to the Peru Rail train station. From the town of Ollantaytambo we were headed to Aguas Calientes where we boarded a bus to Machupicchu.
The bus was a pretty quick ride along the side of the mountain. As we got higher and higher up we could see the massive Andes Mountain peaks through the clouds. Everything was so green and beautiful. Finally we reached the top and hiked to the famous look out point of Machupicchu.
We went on a two hour guided tour throughout all of Machupicchu and saw all the famous sites in the old Incan village. The first thing we saw was the Intiwatana stone. This stone was made out of granite and used to measure time with the shadows of the sun. It measures the winter and summer solstices as well as the spring and fall equinoxes. The four main points of this stone point north, south, east and west.
This was an example of what the inside of one of the houses would have looked like in the Incan time. Our tour guide was telling us that they know the houses looked very similar to this because many of the Andean people still build houses like this today.
La Roca Sagrada was a beautifully carved stone that appeared to look like three different things. 1) A guinea pig, which was a very sacred animal to the Incas and is eaten all over Peru. 2) A fish, which was also a very sacred animal. 3) It is perfectly sculpted to match the mountains behind it.
As I walked around Machupicchu I tried to think of the perfect place to scatter Morgan’s ashes. I tried to think about what she would like the most. Every spot was so beautiful and there was so much energy and life up on the peak. Then the tour guide took us to the heart of Machupicchu where an Orchid garden has grown. The little spot was blooming with all different types of Orchids of all different colors. The tour guide told us that the Orchid is one of the most prevalent flowers in Peru and there are over 300 species.
Since Morgan’s favorite flower was the Orchid I felt very confident this was the spot. However, I still looked around to make sure I was not missing an even better location. Then I overheard a tour guide say, “And this Orchid over here is called Siempre Joven” (Forever Young). That was exactly what I needed to hear and I scattered her ashes amongst the garden of Orchids.
I sat down on the side of the Machupicchu to have a bite to eat and try to take in the moment. It all felt so surreal. I couldn’t believe that I was actually up here and I loved that I could feel Morgan right there with me.